Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous”

25 Apr

Two announcements before we begin:

An exclusive excerpt from Seconds Before Sunrise can be read on Making My Mark as well as a review. “The first book, Minutes before Sunset was a great hook to the series and I couldn’t wait for the second book to be released.” Read the rest of the review and excerpt by clicking here. You can also check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

Speaking of my novels, I asked you all on my Facebook page if you wanted me to have a progress bar for my future projects. Since you said yes, I have added a progress bar which you can see on the right side of my website. (And below this paragraph.) I’ll update it every two weeks. Once “TMT” is turned into my final editor, I will release more information on the name and what it is about. “Death Before Daylight” will be released after TMT, so the order shows the order of the releases.

mynext

It will make you laugh. It will make you nod. And it might even push some of your writer pet peeves – which is exactly why you should take 93 minutes out of your day to watch it.

“Authors Anonymous” is a mockumentary about aspiring writers.

Before I explain in detail (without spoilers, believe it or not. Never mind, I’m using spoilers, but they aren’t awful) about why I think you should watch it, here is the synopsis and trailer from IMDB:

“When a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers accept Hannah into their fold, the last thing they expect is her overnight success. Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process?”

Yes. That is the girl from The Big Bang Theory. Her name is Kaley Cuoco, and she does a good job.

If you think this movie is going to be a serious, deep discussion of a writer’s life, this isn’t for you. This movie is for the writer who just wants to laugh at all the ridiculousness that happens in this writing world. I am one of those writers. I even giggled in delight at the things that normally make my blood pressure rise.

Being able to laugh at myself is how I stay sane (to the best of my ability anyway.) Being able to laugh at this is how I remind myself that we are – in fact – in this together. Even then, the film is simple, light-hearted, and not to be taken too seriously, but…

“Authors Anonymous” tackles a lot of clichés, stereotypes, and exceptions in the publishing world, which is why it’s so fantastic. In fact, I AM some of these clichés, and I think it’s okay to be some of these stereotypical writers. The sad part is when writers try to hurt one another. The good part is that we can be honest about these things, and we can laugh, knowing that we’ve faced many of these issues together. 

Here are just some of my favorites:

Writer Groups:

We hear about them. We attend them. We love them. Then, we hate them. (In private, of course – and not all of the time. Only when we have been judged too harshly or someone else’s work was too perfect. And we only tell our “non-writer” friends how we secretly feel about this confliction.)

It’s a cliché we all know.

Writers help other writers until one writer gets too good. Then, shit jealousy hits the fan, and no one knows who “deserves” to be published more. It’s all a game of luck anyway…wait, did we seriously just say that out loud?

Note: I love you Kansas City Writers Meetup Group

“Who is your favorite writer?”

If you’re a writer, you’ve definitely been asked this. It’s one of those top five questions you find yourself explaining over and over because you answered it once and you’re too afraid a dedicated reader will see you contradict yourself in a new interview. So you have this script, and you are now forced to keep for LIFE. Unless you get a new pen name and start all over.

Note: Why do we ask questions like this? I can’t fathom having a single favorite of anything, let alone a favorite of something I’m incredibly passionate and borderline obsessed with. Please don’t make me pick my favorite color (merlot) or my favorite drink (merlot.)

The I-never-actually-write writer

“I’ll write a book one day.” “I have a great idea.” “I’ve started something that is going to be a best-seller, but I’m just stuck for now.” “I know what you should write.” Need I explain any further?

Note: I’ll fill in this note later.

Storyboards and other writing methods:

The great part of this movie is how they never come out and say everything. In a couple of scenes, you see one author’s storyboard in the background. It’s little things like that where I found myself laughing (for no apparent reason to my friend in the room who isn’t a writer.) There was also this fantastic moment I wish I could share but it would be too big of a spoiler, but I will say this: there is a limit to “researching” for a novel. I think we’ve all heard of a writer who’s taken research a little too far.

Note: “I may have a restraining order, but it happened when I was doing research” is not a line someone wants to hear from you on a first, second, or thirty-fifth date.

Traditionally published vs. Self-published

I am published. You are published. She is published. We’re all published! Why does there have to be a label in front of “published”? This movie had no fear in exposing that writers are often the worst offenders of this – and sometimes at the expense of their own friends.

Note: This is where I shamelessly link to one of my previous posts about this topic because I just want this publishing world to be a better place: Why Are Authors “Hating” On One Another?

The Awful Author Mills

So, wait. You’ll publish my book, but it’s going to cost me $6,000 and the name of my first born? Oh, you mean my character’s first born…Well…okay. If that’s my only option…It isn’t? You’ll do it for free? But I won’t see any of the earnings or marketing or anything? I…Uh…Okay. That’s better than the first deal. I’ll take it.

Note: We’re sorry. You own no rights now. Ever. And this phone service has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

Sitting in a café, park, etc. sipping on coffee while writing:

There’s a scene where this author is showing her “peaceful” garden that she writes in. At first, it’s this beautiful little couch with a desk, photos, and flowers. And then she puts in ear buds to block out the construction less than one foot away from her. Sitting in public isn’t for everyone. Neither is sitting at home.

Note: I am guilty of this. I totally sit in public when I write, and Instagram is filled with my coffee photos. No shame.

Tom Clancy

That is all.

The showcasing of a successful writer who isn’t “well-read.”

This was my favorite part. I loved this. The writer who is deemed the most successful person in the group doesn’t even know what The Great Gatsby is. I only thought this was funny because – let’s be honest – there is a constant pressure on authors to have not only read all of the classics but to have also read everything that’s ever been released. (Which is ridiculous.)

It’s great to be able to read, and I think we would all agree when I say we wish we had more time to read. But it’s okay to tell people you haven’t read that novel everyone else has read, even though it’s popular, sitting on your bookshelf, or even the best author in the genre you write in. It’s also okay to say you do or do not like something.

Note: “Best” is subjective anyway.

Note 2: I dislike The Great Gatsby novel, mainly because Nick’s narration was as annoying to me as Toby Maguire was in Spider-Man 3. On the other hand, I loved Kristen Stewart as Marylou in On the Road, a movie adaptation of one of my favorite Kerorac novels. This seems to blow everyone’s minds. We are all allowed to say how we feel, aren’t we?

Note 3: No. No, we are not.

Note 4: Did I just participate in the whole “well-read” cliche without realizing it?

Note 5: Yes. Yes, I did.

In the end, this isn’t about a movie. I’m not reviewing a film. I am sharing a movie that reviews some of the very cliché moments that happen in our publishing world every day. But the movie itself is amateur…Wait. No. No, it’s not. It’s absolutely amazing – but again, don’t expect something deep. It’s simply a good story to sit back, relax, and have a good laugh at when you think, “Been there. Done that.” We authors aren’t alone. We’re sitting in parks and coffee shops filled with one another. (Just kidding.)

We’re in this writing adventure together, and we should support one another as we venture along. The publishing world will continue to change, but we can handle any challenge in the future. In fact, we may even have a good laugh as we overcome it.

~SAT

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31 Responses to “Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous””

  1. Emily April 25, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    Great post, I’ve really missed reading your blog. I’ll have to catch up this weekend! The “well-read” cliche is one of my pet hates, and it’s my non-writer friends who are the worst culprits. If you aren’t spending your Sundays reading War and Peace and drinking overpriced coffee then you just aren’t worth knowing!

    • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 4:15 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoy the other posts when you can read them. 🙂 It’s very interesting how much readers also find themselves falling into these same cliches, perhaps because writers always start as readers. Overpriced coffee is the shared factor. Lol jk
      ~ SAT

      • Emily April 25, 2014 at 4:19 am #

        I have to admit that the only reason I gave up my overpriced coffee habit is that I can’t afford it anymore, I’m just bitter and jealous 😛 As much as I admire people who can tackle all the classics and actually enjoy them, I just don’t think there’s any harm in only reading books you enjoy! Life’s too short to read bad books!

  2. TBM April 25, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    Oh I’m adding this to my movie list. Looks hilarious. Thanks so much for the exclusive excerpt on my blog. I’m really enjoying the series and can’t wait for book three!

    • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 4:16 am #

      Hope you laugh as much as I did! Glad you enjoyed book two. I can’t wait for book three to release either.
      ~ SAT

  3. enkousama April 25, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    I am so watching it. It’s like you’re describing me in some of those descriptions. Hehe.

    Also, nice use of notes.

    • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 4:17 am #

      Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading and enjoying the notes.
      ~ SAT

  4. arranbhansal April 25, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    This looks awesome!

  5. Charles Yallowitz April 25, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    That looks like a fun movie that I have to hunt down now. Though I fear I might whimper at a few parts just because. Fully agree about that favorite author question. We never realize how common it is until it shows up for the third interview in a row. Also, I freely admit that I’m one of those authors who hasn’t read the classics or every amazing series in his own genre. I never knew that was such a touchy subject.

    • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      I hope you enjoy the movie. I sure did, even when I was cringing. Because I had moments where it hit too close to home or is just that ONE thing that I can’t stand…if that makes sense. In a way, I’m starting to believe all of us authors have that one bad thing in the writing world that bother us the most, and we also have a few we commit ourselves. I am having coffee and editing as we “speak” but thank goodness I’m not in a cafe. (I think?) lol
      Let me know what you think when you see it,
      ~SAT

      • Charles Yallowitz April 25, 2014 at 6:49 am #

        It doesn’t seem to be in any theater or rental place around me. Guess I have to wait or figure out where I can buy it. Apparently, it isn’t out on DVD until June 17th. Soooo not even close.

        You’re right that every author has that one thing that irks them. I was laughing a lot at the guy’s cover being messed up because I had something similar. I went through an on-demand publisher and they told me ‘we can do any cover art that you want’. I sent them a detailed description of my main characters standing back-to-back in a swamp with the villain’s red eyes hovering above them. The response I got was ‘No. Have a building in a forest with a sunset.’

        I used to write and edit in the library, but I stopped when family kept tracking me down to talk about dinner. Now it’s all the dining room table or sitting on the bed. Can’t get onto the roof any more, which was always a fun writing nook.

      • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 6:57 am #

        We rented it through Amazon if that is helpful at all. On a side note, I love sitting on rooftops. They are the best!
        ~SAT

      • Charles Yallowitz April 25, 2014 at 7:02 am #

        I’ll give it a look through Amazon. Never rented through them before. So behind on my movie renting technology. With rooftops, it is a little nerve-wracking trying to get up and down with a laptop. 🙂

  6. Sam April 25, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    The movie looks great! Where can I find it online?

  7. Harliqueen April 25, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Sounds like a great movie 😀

  8. angieneto April 25, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Reblogged this on Phoenix Raines and commented:
    Thank you Shannon. Loved this post and will definitely watch the movie, its on my to do wish list ……
    Your posts are always enlightening, informative and inspiring. I have bookmarked quite a few to help me on my writing journey. New to the world of publishing / self publishing and still testing the waters trying to pluck up the courage to do either, but in the meantime taking note of all your useful advice, hints and tips. Thank you xx

    • Shannon A Thompson April 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

      Thank you for sharing! I hope you enjoy watching it, too, and I am so glad you enjoy my blog posts. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. If there is anything you want me to discuss on my blog, please let me know, and I will credit to your website when I post about it. I am here to help. 😀 And best of luck with your writing journey.
      ~SAT

  9. Jilanne Hoffmann April 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I still go back and forth on how much reading a writer “should” do. So many professors make the point that you have to know where your roots (influences) are before you can build on them. I do think it’s important to know what’s out there so you aren’t just reinventing the wheel. I don’t know. One minute I think it’s important, the next I think it doesn’t matter. I guess it depends on which way the wind blows on any given day.

    The show sounds hilarious, but I don’t have a TV. And that’s probably a good thing as there isn’t enough time in my day to get the things done that really need to get done. 😀

    • Shannon A Thompson April 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      “Should” – in this title – shouldn’t be taken to seriously. (See what I did there? lol I guess I like the word “should.) This is less about the movie and more about laughing, especially at the silly things that happen all around us in the writing world. I am with you on the T.V. thing. I don’t like shows. I only watch movies every now and then because they have a beginning and an end. ha
      ~SAT

  10. jmrogers91 April 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on Justine's Ramblings and commented:
    I didn’t even know this was a thing, and now I can’t wait to see it!

  11. Laura Lis Scott April 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    The movie looks funny. So sad that Dennis Farina is no longer with us.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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